Sunday, November 25, 2007

Updated Website

Just in time for the release of the Directory of Illustration #24 (which hopefully will bring a few new visitors to my website), JZ Artworks online has a new look! I am fortunate to have a husband who is a web developer/designer, and he has worked with me to give my website a make over. There were many aspects of my old site that I enjoyed from an art-director point of view. It loaded quickly on most connections, was easy to navigate, and art samples were easy to view. Basically, the key word here was "easy". However, I felt that the site needed to make a bigger visual impact, especially on the homepage. I'm an illustrator, and I wanted the site to utilize more of my artwork in the design, and not just in the content.

I am really happy with the updated design! I feel that it gives a fresh presentation with higher emphasis on my illustration style, while continuing the easy-usability which marked my previous site.

Now, in the test phase, we tested the site on as many computers as possible, and we hope that all of the bugs have been ironed out. However, if you run into any issues while using the site, please let me know. Leave a comment to this post, and let me know the error, and also the browser you were using at the time. Thanks so much for your help!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pirate School Book 6

I just completed the artwork for the book 6 in the Pirate School series, which will be released in May of 2008. It was a fun project, with a few challenges and new discoveries.

One of the major challenges, from an artistic standpoint, is that I had to complete the cover art before the manuscript was complete. Consequently, I pictured one of the new characters as short. However, when I received the manuscript and the assignment for the interior art, I found that that author described that character as being "bigger than Pete", the series' main character! Uh-oh.

Well, I was able to address this issue with some creative composing of the illustrations in which the new character is pictured. By keeping this character in the foreground, I was able to keep his proportions the same (so that he matched the cover), but avoided showing him in direct proportion to other characters. This means that he was pictured larger than other characters, and also gave the illustrations greater visual depth. This illusion helped to cover up the discrepancies between the descriptive sentence in the manuscript, and the cover artwork.

I found that addressing this challenge was exciting, in that it allowed me to use my design skills to do more than just interpret a scene, but also to solve a problem. The result is a batch of drawings that I feel proud of, and that meets the client's illustration needs.